Life after lockdown: Energy

Powering a greener, cleaner future

Our insatiable need for energy hasn’t changed during the coronavirus pandemic – although pressures on the grids have moved from supplying major manufacturing and retail hubs to powering people’s improvised home offices.

It has revealed how the world needs to manage a transition to greener and renewable energy effectively, both reducing the impact on the environment and for energy security when supply chains are disrupted.

In the UK, the national grid needed no coal-produced electricity for the entirety of April and May thanks to the strides made on putting renewable energy sources in place – and, of course, the favourable weather – while research from Imperial’s Business School showed how even power-hungry regions such as the USA, UK and Europe saw investments in renewable energy providing greater returns than traditional fossil fuels over the past few months.

Recovery and budgetary response packages across the globe are prioritising a green economy, providing subsidies for environmentally-sensitive practices and support for developing a workforce whose outputs will reduce the impacts, and hopefully mitigate the effects, of climate change.

Read some of the case studies where researchers from Imperial College London have worked with industry partners to improve business practice.

The energy sector will be a core part of this, and from retrofitting insulation in properties to make homes more efficient through to carbon capture, electric vehicles and guiding customers to make better financial and environmental decisions, Imperial’s experts and startups are at the forefront of this work.

Check out a focused page on energy policy and helping customers adjust to more environmentally-sensitive energy consumption.

Expert consultancy and commentary in the energy sector

The College’s academics have been involved in high-profile work across the world, such as providing expert commentary on the global energy markets, informing sustainable investment advice to international financial organisations and designing service enhancements for energy providers.

Furthermore, a new membrane developed by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a team led by Professor Andrew Livingston from Imperial’s department of Chemical Engineering and ExxonMobil could help reduce carbon emissions and energy use associated with refining crude oil. By substituting the low-energy membranes for certain steps in the refining process, the new technology might one day contribute to a hybrid refining system that could help reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption significantly compared to traditional refining processes.

Whether you’re a company working in the energy sector, a policy-maker or looking for ways to cut your energy costs in order to make your business more efficient, our range of services, startups and technology licenses at Imperial will help you build a more resilient, more sustainable and greener future for your organisation.

Retrofit your insulation remotely

While social distancing is still in place in many areas, how can you capitalise on the £3 billion investment from the UK Government to retrofit buildings with insulation? Q-Bot Ltd., which employs robots to do the hard labour, provides a unique insulation solution.

Bulb Energy research

Experts from our Centre for Environmental Policy worked with Bulb Energy, the UK’s fastest-growing energy supplier, to enhance their customers’ carbon footprint tracker, which will reduce the amount of energy their customers use, as well as enabling investment in carbon offsetting projects around the world.

Freezer power increase expected to keep food fresh

A partnership between Sainsbury’s, the Grantham Institute at Imperial and our Department of Chemical Engineering showed that freezers will consume 6% more power in the coming years to cope with the impacts of climate change on food supply in stores and on food supply chains.

Find out how Imperial can help you with your specific needs be they immediate or a longer term goal.

Imperial startup Ceres Power was recently valued at over £600 million – the UK’s cleantech company – while fuel cell startups Bramble Energy and RFC Power are also well-positioned to enable transitions to energy storage solutions.

Monitoring power grids in real time

As supplies move from major power stations and national grids to local and private energy creation and storage facilities, keeping track of acute issues is vital to ensure that homes, houses and districts stay online. A monitoring technology for smart grids will empower more resilient network management.

Invest in crowdsourcing your power

Imperial startup Sitigrid enables individuals and property managers to install solar panels on their buildings and share power across their networks. Enquire about investment opportunities in their technology.

Empowering social change through energy security

Oorja, founded by Chemical Engineer Dr Clementine Chambon, has revolutionised local energy production and security in rural communities in India. In turn, it has empowered those communities to invest time and resources on enhancing agricultural production and economic development.

Analysing the future of the UK’s energy sector

Working with Drax, one of UK’s biggest electricity producers, Dr Iain Staffell and a team of academics provide regular data analysis and narrative about the future of the energy sector in the UK, enabling the company to move towards more sustainable production.

Specialists in energy consultancy

Galvanic Energy, a consultancy operation led by our experienced innovators and academics at the College, provides specialist expertise on a range of aspects of the energy sector, in particular about emerging trends and how to capitalise on renewable and sustainable energy management.

Latest news

Low carbon transport research centre launches at Imperial

Low carbon transport research centre launches at Imperial

A major research initiative focussing on the development of low emission vehicles has launched this week at Imperial College London, which will develop knowledge and expertise that could be applied through consultancy projects in the future. read more

IPARC awarded Best Pesticide Research & Education Agency – Europe

IPARC awarded Best Pesticide Research & Education Agency – Europe

For over 60 years IPARC has worked to improve crop protection through R&D and training to achieve safer, responsible and more efficient use of pesticides globally. This well-deserved award recognises their huge contribution to research and education. read more

Cystic Fibrosis expert from Imperial named on clinical advisory board for Proteostasis Therapeutics

Cystic Fibrosis expert from Imperial named on clinical advisory board for Proteostasis Therapeutics

Professor Jane Davies of Imperial College London has been appointed to Proteostasis Therapeutics’ Cystic Fibrosis clinical advisory board, in a collaboration facilitated by Imperial Consultants (ICON). read more

Related case studies

Building a low carbon economy with ICT

Building a low carbon economy with ICT

Our consultants shared their expertise in economics to help Microsoft explore how ICT can play an enabling role in low carbon economies to reduce CO2 emissions. read more

Reducing carbon footprint of plastic bottle

Reducing carbon footprint of plastic bottle

Our consultants shared their expertise in life cycle analysis to compare the carbon footprints generated by the The Coca-Cola Company’s new PlantBottle™ versus their previous PET plastic bottle. read more

Biofuels greenhouse gas calculator

Biofuels greenhouse gas calculator

Expertise in advanced biorenewables used to help HGCA accurately calculate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the growth and production of raw materials for biofuels. read more